Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described as “cathedral judgements” verdicts of the Nigerian judges on electoral disputes, saying three to five judges should not overturn decisions made by millions of voters during elections.
Obasanjo described the powers vested in the hands of a few judges as totally unacceptable.
The former President seemed to be speaking in relation to recent decisions of the Court of Appeal on the electoral disputes arising from the 2023 elections in the country
Recently, three governors in the opposition were sacked in separate judgements delivered by the judges of the Court of Appeal.
The affected governors include Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State, Abba Yusuf in Kano, and Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.
The judgements have triggered reactions, earning the judiciary more knocks than kudos.
Speaking at a high-level consultation on Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa held at Green Resort Legacy, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Obasanjo faulted the “cathedral pronouncements” by the judges.
He said, “I believe whatever form of democracy we have or whatever system of government we have, three or four men in the judiciary should not be able to overturn the decisions of millions that have voted.
“Now, we have to find a way to handle that. I don’t know what the way will be but, for me, I think it’s totally unacceptable that millions (of votes), maybe 10 million on one side, maybe nine million on the other side. Then, you have five people sitting down, three of them agree, two disagree. And you come up and make cathedral pronouncements that cannot be changed, I believe that should not be accepted.”
“How do we do it? I don’t know. But whatever form of democracy we have, we should look at how to handle this. If you say ‘go again for election,’ then, what happened to the previous election? I don’t know.”